Traditions in Summer CampPosted by Alicia DeHart on December 16, 2019
Miriam Webster defines tradition as “the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction.” Traditions are a large part of communities and cultures. Traditions weave a common thread through individuals who may not have connected otherwise. The same can be said of traditions in summer camp. Fernwood Cove’s traditions are woven into all aspects of camp.
Some traditions like Closing Campfire are very intentional and well-planned. And then there are other traditions that begin with someone planting a seed and it grows throughout the camp community. Our call and response of “I love camp! – I love camp too!” is a perfect example of this. Consequently, the manner that a tradition came to be isn’t what’s important. The importance comes in how our traditions bring us together and strengthen our community.
Traditions Are Steeped in History
Fernwood Cove is quite young in comparison to other Maine summer camps. Fernwood Cove is also quite unique in its structure- it is Maine’s first all-girls half-season summer camp. Given the differences, it can be easy to think that our traditions would vary greatly in comparison to other camps. However, many traditions don’t belong to a single camp. Many Fernwood Cove traditions are steeped in history. Things like a campfire, camp songs, and color war have been a part of summer camp for many generations.
Fernwood Cove’s value of Simple Living brings us back to a time when life was less complicated. Many of the longstanding traditions in summer camp come from a similar time. For example, the Fernwood Cove traditions of Taps, Campfire, Reveille, and camp uniform are all based on practices from the beginning of the twentieth century. These traditions have stood the test of camp and have creates a strong platform for the Fernwood Cove community to connect and grow.
Crazy Traditions in Summer Camp
When you talk with camper and staff alumni about traditions at Fernwood Cove they often mention things like Green & White Dance Party, Counselor Hunt, and Miss Fernwood Cove. These are just a few examples of the crazy traditions in summer camp. When you’re new to camp these events can seem bizarre. However, after summers away from camp stories about these events bring smiles and laughter. They connect Fernwood Cove girls who attended different sessions. They bridge the gap for staff who worked at camp in different summers. These traditions are the memory makers that give everyone in the Fernwood Cove community commonality.
Sometimes new traditions come from the simplest of things. A prime example is Director Jim Gill’s “hand sanitizer dance” that often accompanies his morning announcements at Flag Raising. It’s goofy and a total “dad thing” that is silly. And every person in camp anticipates Jim’s dance and we share a collective giggle afterwards. Sometimes enjoying the simplest things in life have the biggest impact. Traditions in summer camp are a prime example of this.
Traditions are Evolving
In the early years of Fernwood Cove it was often difficult to establish traditions. Over the twenty-one summers at Fernwood Cove traditions have come into the camp community. Some were there in the first summer. And others were created in the twenty-first summer. Part of the magic of Fernwood Cove is that we are young enough that our traditions bring us together without excluding opportunities for new traditions. We encourage campers, CITs and staff to propose new traditions or share how they think we can improve existing ones. As a result, each Fernwood Cove girl has the opportunity to leave her personal imprint on Fernwood Cove. With this mindset, our traditions are evolving and growing with the camp community.
Part of the magic of camp is that the traditions don’t have to remain there. There is a multitude of camp traditions that you can bring home. Shout out “I love camp!” and after the initial shock and look of amazement Fernwood Cove girls will likely respond with “I love camp too!” If you have travel plans during the upcoming holidays ask your camper to teach you camp songs. There’s nothing like a good rendition of “Little Cabin In The Woods” to give you a needed energy boost! Bringing camp traditions home can quickly begin creating family memories. Additionally, it can help keep your daughter’s camp spirit alive throughout the school year.